Who is Elizabeth Barenis?

Now before you start thinking that Creative Pinellas is giving Professional Artist Grants to children, please note that this photo of me was taken about 37 years ago! I’m not sure what was going through my head as I pressed the brush to paper that day in pre-school, but it certainly made a positive impression on me. Fast forward to 2023, and I am SO happy and grateful to receive the Professional Artist Grant this year!

And so begins my blog…


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

-Pablo Picasso


My name is Elizabeth Barenis, and I’m a painter. The story of my creative nature begins with childhood, when I spent many hours roaming the aisles of my parents’ music store, where I would play with all the instruments and listen to the professionals actually play the instruments properly. The 200-disc CD player would rotate background music for an enhanced shopping experience, and the melodies were mostly new age and easy listening.  Combine all of this with the stunning sunsets of the Mississippi Delta, and that’s a recipe for an artist like me.

While my mother taught me to play piano, and I later picked up guitar, I came to realize that I could “see” pictures in my mind, and that my talent lay in the visual arts field. My parents supported my passion by enrolling me in private art lessons after school. And even though I explored just about every other subject matter out there, when I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004, I decided to return to, and follow, the path of painting.

A couple of more recent photos of me in my studio:

Elizabeth Barenis paints large canvases in her studio.
Elizabeth Barenis paints in her studio.


Elizabeth Barenis sits in her studio, in front of her painting of butterflies and hibiscus.
Elizabeth Barenis in her studio, in front of her painting “The Butterflies.”


Even as a child, my art-making revolved around beauty – flowers, rainbows, seascapes. And the same is true still today – I represent beauty on the canvas. My understanding and interpretation has evolved, of course, but the basic approach is still the same. And these days, my subject matter takes the form of palm fronds, forest landscapes, and sometimes foggy scenes, all of which are inspired by the photographs I take.

Beauty is not something that can be touched or held, for it is more of a quality than a tangible thing; yet, we all agree that it exists. I believe it’s an indication of a greater force at work in our world, one of harmony and well-being, and the more that we can feel the experience of awe that comes with observing beauty, then the more our world can move toward one of peace.

So there you have it – a little intro to me and my artistic practice. Thanks for getting to know me, and I look forward to many more blog entries to come. In the meantime, please visit my website at ELIZABETHBARENIS.COM.


“I paint very large pictures.”

-Mark Rothko


Elizabeth Barenis stands in front of the three hundred square foot mural she completed in November of 2022.
Elizabeth Barenis in front of her “Super Palm” mural at the Parks and Recreation building in Dunedin, Florida.

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